Common Mistakes Writers Make by Eva Marie Everson
Many times I have been asked, “Will you look at my manuscript and give me your opinion?” Or, “Will you look at my manuscript and edit it?” I did that for a while, at no cost. Until the day I realized I spent more time editing other people’s work for free than I did writing my own, which was my bread and butter.
And with that, the editing arm of my company grew fingers.
I find editing issues in nearly every manuscript, especially those of new writers. I made the same mistakes early on. After discussing the situation with a few of my conference director friends, I decided the time had come to offer Common Mistakes Writers Make as a conference workshop. And so I did.
After one of those conferences, an editor wisely asked, “Have you thought about putting this workshop into the form of a book?”
I had not until that moment. (Insert smile here.)
What you are about to read is not rocket science. These pages are not filled with English Grammar 101 lessons (although one of the best things you can do for yourself as a writer is to find an old seventh grade English grammar textbook, read it, and complete the exercises).
I don’t claim to be the final authority on all the issues, but I know what I know. This book is but a small collection of editing mistakes I often find in the work that comes across my desk (and sometimes by my own hand). It shouldn’t take long for you to read it, but when you reach the end of it, I hope you ll have had some aha moments. I’m writing conversationally, by the way, because I pretend I am speaking directly to you as I write, my friend. I’m basically telling you what I think I know.
If you’d like, you can let me know what you think (that is, if you are nice about it) by going to my website EvaMarieEversonAuthor.com and selecting the contact tab.
Writing in Obedience – A Primer for Christian Fiction Writers by Terry Burns and Linda W. Yezak
This book is for the new Christian writer or the writer looking to decide how God wants them to incorporate their faith into their writing. How do we know what the Lord wants us to do? Are we being called to write or do we want to write for Him as an offering? What is required of the author using their writing for the Lord and how do they go about it? What do we really want to achieve with our writing, and how do we define success?
Proofreading Secrets of Best-Selling Authors by Kathy Ide
Learn how best-selling authors proofread their manuscripts to avoid typos, inconsistencies, inaccuracies, and errors in punctuation, usage, grammar, and spelling.
Proofreading Secrets of Best-Selling Authors, by professional freelance author, editor, and proofreader Kathy Ide, is the essential go-to tool for aspiring and experienced writers and editors. This book includes all of the material from Ide’s popular Polishing the PUGS book (now out of print), with added PUGS guidelines and helpful tips from multi-published authors on how to catch typos and other common mistakes.
In Proofreading Secrets of Best-Selling Authors, Kathy Ide identifies the industry-standard references for books, magazines, and newspapers (which are different from the guidelines for other types of writing, such as college term papers). Using these official references, she highlights the most common mistakes writers make in the areas of punctuation, usage, grammar, and spelling (for which she uses the acronym PUGS). She also includes guidelines from The Christian Writer’s Manual of Style for authors and editors who work in the inspirational market.
Murder of a Manuscript: Writing and Editing Tips to Keep Your Book Out of the Editorial Graveyard by Andrea Merrell
Few things are more heartbreaking for a writer than giving birth to a manuscript and handing it over to an agent, editor, or publisher—only to see it killed in its infancy. How do you prevent your prodigy from taking a bullet to the heart? By learning the basics and making sure your manuscripts are as clean and professional as possible.
Whether you’re a new writer or a seasoned author, the ability to edit and proofread your own material is crucial. Along with recognizing common errors, a writer should know the lingo of the writing and publishing industry, and have a good grasp of plotting, POV, crafting dialog, and so much more. Murder of a Manuscript will test your knowledge and give you the tools to polish your prose so the epitaph won’t read: Here lie the remains of my first book. It never had a chance to show the world how wonderful it could have been.
The ABC List of Feature Ideas Paperback by Michael Ray Smith
By now, you have tried your hand at writing either as a blogger or a freelance writer or someone who is writing for free just to have the opportunity to earn a byline. You have desire and some natural talent and all you need is encouragement and instruction. As you seek out a mentor or a writing group, consider reading all that you can on writing well. This short guide will help you think through some standard articles that publishers, particularly magazines, would consider if you can provide a novel angle. This beginner’s guide will walk you through some crucial ethical considerations, a formula for writing that works and specific ideas that will give your article flair.
Packed with solid advice, interesting examples and useful exercises. Particularly valuable is the huge list of story ideas .. sure to spark an idea in any creative mind. ~ Doug Trouten, journalism professor, Northwestern College, and FORMER director of a 400-magazine association.
Learning one skill will improve everything you write. Ready? Here it is: Write like you talk That’s it? Yes, that’s it. But it’s not as easy as it sounds. It’s a skill and like any skill, it can be learned and with some practice, you can master it. What’s in it for me, you ask? First, writing will be easier, less of a chore. Instead of fighting the page, you will sound like you. You might even find you really like to write. Who knows. You might have a story inside you that other people really need to read. Topics include tips on: Voice Character Plot Structure Dialog Conflict Sensory Elements Setting Beginnings Endings
The fisherman may sit in his boat and contemplate bait—night crawlers or a lure? Maybe something fancier? What he never considers, however, is throwing a line in without a hook. He never thinks, “My cord is so well made, so strong and beautiful, what fish wouldn’t want to wrap itself up in it and jump into my boat?” But countless writers do just that when they ignore the first sentence. For many, it’s just sentence one to move them to sentence two—a means to an end, rather than bait. What they don’t realize is that the first line’s purpose is to compel the reader forward, to push them to the second, to create a sense of urgency to read on. For the writers who ignore this, there is no literary seduction in their fiction. There is only the story, which may or may not be read fully. Likely, the reader may not even make it to the second line.
Maybe you struggle with the first line, and that’s okay. To a large extent, we all do. It’s hard to find a line that’s going to entice readers and propel them onward with eager anticipation. But crafting a stellar first line doesn’t need to be confounding. A fisherman has many types of bait. A writer has many ways to open their fiction—character, setting, voice. More often than not, the best bait is the unexpected, the question-proposing line that skims across the surface of the water to attract impatient readers slogging through the river. The first line has become organic and has breathed, and the reader can smell its breath. These are the lines that live in our memories—the stuff literary dreams are made of.
You can use this book in any way you see fit. Nothing says you have to read it straight-through even. Feel free to skip around, browse each section, work on whatever you feel you need to develop. But the ideal reader of this book (at least in my mind) is going to have pen and paper handy, or at least be near their computer, so they can scrawl out a few lines as they go through each section. Bottom line—first lines take practice, and like any artists, we’ve got to write some real stinkers before we find the right one. Roll up your sleeves, and let’s get cracking.
1. The Case For The First Line
2. Get A Load Of These: The 100 Best Lines In Novels
3. Size Matters: Novels V. Short Stories
4. But You Should See The Other Guy: Conflict
5. A Duck Walks Into A Pharmacy: Character
6. Beg Your Pardon? The Unexpected First Line
7. Making The Stage: Setting And Tone
8. Jello To The Wall: Nailing Voice
9. What You Do When You Say It: Dialogue And Action
10. The Sampler Platter: Compound-complexes And Run-ons
The author is an acquisition editor of fiction for Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. Writing conference students often ask what editors look for in a novel. The information contained in this book are the BASIC elements the author believes every good novel should include and in no way is meant to be a full-blown writing book. The intent of this book is to present the basic elements of writing a novel in UNDER 60 MINUTES. Estimated word count is 15,000. In other words, it is a SHORT book. (We keep saying this because some reviewers skim over the book’s description and are surprised to find it is a SHORT book.)
We remember characters; we pitch plot. In Plotting Simplified you’ll learn how to map your story using the “passage markers” that shape every story’s journey. From introduction and motivation to your Lead’s moment of maximum angst, you’ll see how easy it is to develop a story line and keep your characters on the path to a compelling climax. Learn how to introduce the Great Disturbance, what 4 Questions you should ask of your plot, how to map-out your story, manage your key scenes, the 7 Keys to every good plot, whyWorry, Conflict and Disaster spells success for the writer, and how to introduce your Major Dramatic Question.
Been There, “Scene” That!
Making a scene is as easy as: ABCD. A good scene reveals information that moves the story forward (new goals, old secrets, hidden motives), shows conflict between characters (adds tension), deepens the character’s development, and creates suspense (introduces a new wrinkle that leaves the reader hanging). Learn the three keys to scene summary, how to create memorable moments in your story, what 4 questions you should ask of each scene. Learn professional secrets and begin crafting great scenes in just five minutes.
Dialogue can breathe life into any fiction or non-fiction story. In this class we cover: Scene & space – A scene is: Doing (Action) Thinking (Narrative) and Talking (Dialogue). Tools- A writer has a number of tools for story building: narration, action, description, and dialogue Stickiness – How dialogue sticks with us Tags – When to tag, when to skip tags & where to place tags Types – Direct, Reflective, Misdirected, Modulated, Descriptive, Breathless, & Compressed Tips – When to circle back, go silent, & add gestures Punctuation – Where to put those marks and quotes.
Creating Compelling Characters
Compelling characters are larger than life. They risk more, laugh often and love with passion. In this session you’ll learn how to invent both likable and loathsome characters, winners and losers, heroes and villains. In this class you’ll learn how to build motivation, focus flaws, and and explore the feelings or your characters. You’ll see how conflict, crisis and consequences shape your characters. We’ll show you how to find the right character for your story, motivate your hero and heroin, and how the “off-beat sidekick” can provide comic relief for your story.
Have you ever wished you could write a devotion but didn’t know how? Do you feel as though God is calling you to a writing ministry but you’re not sure how to begin?
“When you write for God, and you really mean it… your work may never show up on the shelves at Lifeway. It may never find its way into bound print at all. But when you write for God, when you write with the heart of a servant…you may find that your words are only meant for the guy sitting next to you. If you can accept this…live with it…grasp it…then you can write for God as a ministry.” – Alton Gansky
In Turning Personal Experiences into Parables, you will learn how to write devotions for church newsletters, periodicals, websites and books. A devotional ministry can complement the advancement of a building campaign, mission work and church projects. Learn how to draw readers in with the “Hook, Book, Look, Took” method: a time-tested technique used by best-selling authors. See how to “Write From Your Wound to Their Pain,” craft stories with the authority, speak as a prophet of God, discover your writing ministry, learn the six key secrets every successful writer knows, and much more.
For some, a devotion may be their only Bible for the day, so learn how to touch hearts, teach His Word and change lives.